Microplastics: impacts on the environment and human health

Hundreds of millions of tons of plastics are produced each year. Millions of those tons enter our air, soil, and water as waste. As waste, some of this material–still many millions of tons–breaks down into smaller particles, or microplastics (< 5 mm in size); microplastics come from many sources including the manufacture of industrial products and the physical, chemical, and biological breakdown of larger pieces…

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Microplastics, horizontal gene transfer, and impacts on human health

An estimated 300 million tons of plastics are produced annually. Millions of those tons enter our air, soil, and water as waste every year. As waste, some of this material–still millions of tons–breaks down into smaller particles, or microplastics (< 5 mm in size); the microplastics come from the manufacture of industrial products and the physical, chemical, and biological degradation of larger pieces of plastic…

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Most-read Science topics (quick post)

Over the last year (since September 2018), the top 5 posts searched and read on Science Connections have been: The impact of sea level rise on Florida–and the world Consumer DNA testing–no oversight, no peer review, only estimates Looking to the past for an alternative to cement Facial recognition and privacy Now that China will no longer take it, the U.S. and other countries will…

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It’s raining plastic

News: It’s literally raining plastic–that is, “multicolored microscopic plastic fibers.” Previous research has found microplastics in mountains in Europe, at the bottom of the ocean, and in lakes, rivers, and groundwater around the world … and now in rainwater samples collected in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, USA. “Almost anything that’s made of plastic could be shedding particles into the atmosphere.” “More than 90% of…

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We need action

Land and water degradation, food and water supply shortages, drug-resistant infections from overuse of antibiotics, overuse of pesticides and disease, sea level rise affecting coastal areas, microplastics/single-use plastic pollution on land and in the oceans, rapidly melting ice at the Poles, heatwaves, droughts, extreme rainfall, powerful hurricanes, and more –> people and animals migrating, people and animals dying. It’s real, it’s happening now, and it’s…

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Metals, microplastics, and antibiotic resistance

News: Misuse and overuse of antibiotics with farm animals (especially to promote growth) and with humans “is a main reason behind [the] evolution of antibiotic resistant pathogens.” This is an increasing threat to human health–in both poor and rich countries. However, other accumulating pollutants in our environment interact to make the problem bigger and make it worse. Metals–like mercury, lead, zinc, copper, and cadmium–accumulate to…

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